paleontology

William Buckland and the Dinosaurs

William Buckland and the Dinosaurs

On March 12, 1784, English theologian, geologist and eccentric palaeontologist William Buckland was born, who wrote the first full account of a fossil dinosaur, which he named Megalosaurus. Buckland grew up in Axminster, Devon, UK, and spent a lot his his childhood days together with his father, a rector, hiking and collecting ammonites and several other shells they found along the way. Buckland received most of his formal education at St Mary’s College…
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Davidson Black and the Peking Man

Davidson Black and the Peking Man

On July 25, 1884, Canadian anatomist and paleoanthropologist Davidson Black was born. Black is best known for his postulation of the existence of a distinct form of early man, Sinanthropus pekinensis, popularly known as Peking man and now Homo erectus pekinensis. It is believed that Davidson Black already enjoyed to collect fossils along the banks of the Don River when he was a child. Further, he probably became friends with First Nations…
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Johan Gunnar Andersson and Chinese Archaeology

Johan Gunnar Andersson and Chinese Archaeology

On July 3, 1874, Swedish archaeologist, paleontologist and geologist Johan Gunnar Andersson was born. Andersson is closely associated with the beginnings of Chinese archaeology in the 1920s. He laid the foundation for the study of prehistoric China. In 1921, at a cave near there, on the basis of bits of quartz that he found in a limestone region, he predicted that a fossil man would be discovered. Six years later, the first…
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William Joscelyn Arkell and the Jurassic Period

William Joscelyn Arkell and the Jurassic Period

On June 9, 1904, British geologist and paleontologist William Joscelyn Arkell was born. Arkell is regarded as the leading authority on the Jurassic Period during the middle part of the 20th century. His work includes the classification of Jurassic ammonites and an interpretation of the environments of that period. In 1946, his “Standard of the European Jurassic” advocated a commission formulate a code of rules for stratigraphical nomenclature. William Joscelyn Arkell attended…
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Édouard Lartet –  a pioneer of Paleolithic archaeology

Édouard Lartet – a pioneer of Paleolithic archaeology

On April 15, 1801, French geologist and paleontologist Édouard Lartet was born. Lartet was a pioneer of Paleolithic archaeology, who is chiefly credited with discovering man’s earliest art and with establishing a date for the Upper Paleolithic Period of the Stone Age. His most striking discovery was a mammoth tooth, found in a cave, upon which was a drawing of a mammoth. This was clear proof that man lived at the same time as…
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Alfred Romer and the Evolution of Vertebrae

Alfred Romer and the Evolution of Vertebrae

On December 28, 1894, American paleontologist and biologist Alfred Sherwood Romer was born. Romer was a a specialist in vertebrate evolution. He studied the evolution of early vertebrates in biological terms of comparative anatomy and embryology. He researched muscle and limb evolution, the development and evolutionary history of cartilage and bone, and the structure and function of the nervous system. Youth and Education Alfred Romer was born in White Plains, New York,…
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Evolution is not Reversible – Louis Dollo

Evolution is not Reversible – Louis Dollo

On December 7, 1857, French-born Belgian palaeontologist Louis Dollo was born. Dollo is best known for his work on dinosaurs. He also posited that evolution is not reversible, known as Dollo’s law. Together with the Austrian Othenio Abel, Dollo established the principles of paleobiology. Early Years Louis Dollo was born in Lille, Nord-Pas-de-Calais. At the École Centrale de Lille, Dollo studied with the Jules Gosselet and the zoologist Alfred Giard. In 1877, Louis…
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The Discovery of the Taung Child

The Discovery of the Taung Child

On November 28, 1924, workers at the Buxton Limeworks near Taung, South Africa, showed a fossilised primate skull to Raymond Dart, an Australian anatomist and anthropologist, who described it as a new species in the journal Nature in 1925. The fossil was soon nicknamed the Taung Child and the new species was named Australopithecus africanus – the “southern ape from Africa” – and described by Dart as “an extinct race of apes…
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The Discovery of the Mauer 1 Mandible

The Discovery of the Mauer 1 Mandible

On October 21, 1907 the worker Daniel Hartmann unearthed a mandibular in a sand mine in the Grafenrain Open field system of the Mauer community. The so-called Mauer 1 mandible is the oldest fossilized specimen of the genus Homo ever to be discovered in Germany. The Mauer 1 mandible is the type specimen of the species Homo heidelbergensis, a subspecies of Homo erectus. In 1907, Daniel Hartmann unearthed a mandibular in a…
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Edward Drinker Cope and the Neo-Lamarckian School of Thought

Edward Drinker Cope and the Neo-Lamarckian School of Thought

On July 28, 1840, American paleontologist and comparative anatomist Edward Drinker Cope was born. Being s well as a noted herpetologist and ichthyologist, he was a founder of the Neo-Lamarckism school of thought. This school believed that changes in developmental (embryonic) timing, not natural selection, was the driving force of evolution. Cope thought that groups of species that shared similar developmental patterns could be grouped into more inclusive groups (i.e. genera, families,…
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